Outliers sweep Veterans Day Weekend
The Utah Outliers picked up three more wins this past weekend as they played host to the visiting Northern Colorado Eagles and Idaho Falls Spud Kings. Utah defeated the Eagles on Friday and Sunday and took down the Spud Kings on Saturday to earn a weekend sweep. All three games ended up being closely contested with a lot of back-and-forth action and strong goaltending. The weekend recap shows the Outliers continuing their torrid pace of winning which has them sitting in first place in the Mountain division.
Utah Outliers 2, Northern Colorado Eagles 1 (Friday, November 11th)
The Outliers were proud to honor our country's veterans and military service members with a special Veterans Day tribute game on Friday, November 11th. The local JROTC color guard from West High School in Salt Lake City, along with LTC Jeremy Bourque, commander of ROTC at the University of Utah, joined for the presentation of colors and the singing of a beautiful rendition of the national anthem. Then it was time for hockey!
The Outliers started the game off with a bang from the drop of the puck. The team found its skating legs early in the contest and the group was flying during the first period as they peppered the Eagles' netminder with 15 shots on net. Although Utah would not convert any of its even-strength opportunities the group did capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play goal to open up the scoring. Moving the puck around the Eagles' zone, Miles McCue slid a cross-ice pass from the point to Nikolas Schwab who was positioned on the left side of the goal. Schwab collected his pass from McCue and then connected on a cross-crease pass to Leyton Pettypiece who was left all alone at the right side of the net. Pettypiece deposited the puck into a wide-open net for a 1-0 Utah lead.
The home team continued their high-tempo play in the second period and extended their lead to 2-0 when Will Cohen skated over the Eagles' blue line and made a fantastic cross-ice pass to Lucas Ouellette who buried his shot inside the post at the 13:38 mark.
After the Outlier's second goal by Ouellette, the team fell into some sloppy play and made a few poor turnovers that resulted in feeding Northern Colorado's transition game and putting Utah on its heels. Adding insult to injury, the home team took a few untimely penalties that would allow the Eagles to score a power play goal of their own tightening the score to 2-1. While on the man advantage, the Eagles worked the puck high in the Outliers' end and found space on the right side of the zone. Northern Colorado's Alexis Lalonde found an uncontested lane and skated down it and wired his shot from the face-off dot that beat Utah goaltender Marco Felicetti for the power play goal.
The two teams headed into the locker room with the Outliers leading by a score of 2-1 and the shots registering 8-5 in favor of Utah. Both teams demonstrated a lot of strong defensive play in the second period which smothered the offense and stifled many of the scoring chances for either team. When any solid chances did occur, both goalies were quick to fend off most of the attempts they faced.
The final period began very similar to the second period with both teams imposing tight checking, which made space hard to find. Utah was eventually able to generate a few good scoring chances but was denied by the goaltending of the Eagles. No more scoring would occur in the third period and the Outliers skated off with a 2-1 victory. Shots in the third period registered 12-8 for Utah and a total of 34-15 for the game which benefited the home club.
Utah Outliers 3, Idaho Falls Spud Kings 1 (Saturday, November 12th)
On Saturday night, the Outliers played host to the Idaho Falls Spud kings. This was the third meeting between these two teams this season as Utah had defeated the Spud Kings in the previous two games.
Nikolas Schwab opened the scoring for Utah at the 9:01 mark of the first period. The Outliers controlled the puck in the Spud Kings' zone and it found the stick of Utah forward Leyton Pettypiece toward the back of the net. Pettypiece made a couple of moves to evade the opponent's defenders and then made a nifty pass into the slot for Schwab who quickly shot it past the Idaho Falls goaltender for a 1-0 Outliers lead. There would be no other scoring in the opening period and not much offense to report on either side of the rink. Shots on goal favored the Outliers 7-6 and neither club produced many high-danger scoring opportunities.
Utah showed much more aggression and intensity in the second period and started to take over the game. The Outliers' offense began to carry the momentum and produce many more offensive sequences in the Spud Kings' zone that tired out the visitors. Utah's pressure led to them drawing a penalty and capitalizing on their second goal of the evening while on the power play.
Utah worked the puck up high in the Idaho Falls' zone while playing in an umbrella power play formation. Some quick passing between Matthew Koepke, Donovan Burdette, and Lucas Ouellette at the top of the umbrella pulled the Idaho Falls defenders out of position, and eventually, the puck found its way back onto the stick of Koepke at the mid-point. Koepke then found an open lane to attack and ripped a wrist shot past the Spud Kings netminder for a 2-0 Outliers lead. The second period concluded with Utah holding the lead and outshooting the Spud Kings 16-7.
The Outliers found their third goal of the game at the 13:23 mark when Utah defenseman Joel Elsaesser intercepted an Idaho pass in the neutral zone and moved it up the wall to teammate Lucas Ouellete. Utah's Ouellette collected the puck and skated into the Spud Kings zone and released a bullet of a shot from the board side hash marks that beat the Spud Kings' goaltender top shelf on the short side.
Idaho Falls narrowed Utah's lead to 3-1 at the 4:14 mark of the final frame when the visitors created a turnover behind the Outlier's net that led to a chance out front that they capitalized on. For the remainder of the game, Utah was forced to defend their net as Idaho pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and pressed for another goal. Outliers' goaltender, Jaxon Letey stood tall for the rest of the game and came up with several big saves to keep the Spud Kings from adding any more goals on the evening.
Utah skated off the ice in victory once again by defeating the Spud kings by a score of 3-1. This was the Outliers' fourth straight win over Idaho Falls this season and with the win, it continues Utah's hot streak at home. The Outliers outshot Idaho 35-21 in this contest.
Utah Outliers 4, Northern Colorado Eagles 0 (Sunday, November 13th)
The final game of the weekend would have Utah once again taking on the Northern Colorado Eagles. The Eagles came into Sunday's game looking for revenge from Friday's defeat at the hands of the Outliers. Utah was searching for its third win of the weekend to earn a 3-game sweep and continue their undefeated streak (in regulation) at home.
The Outliers came out storming in the first period and played their signature 'high-tempo' brand of hockey. The black and yellow squad played with a relentless pace and intensity that dominated the Eagles in every aspect of the game during the opening frame. The period produced no scoring for either team but it was a one-sided affair as the Outliers produced 18 shots on net to the Eagles 3.
Utah ran into some penalty trouble early in the second period and was forced to kill off numerous power play attempts by Northern Colorado. Thanks to some great work by the penalty kill units and some timely saves by Outliers goalie, Nathan Dickey, the home team escaped unscathed to keep the score tied at 0-0.
Paul Waldhauser gave Utah some much-needed momentum when he opened the scoring to give the Outliers a 1-0 lead. The Eagles chipped the puck out of their zone to start an offensive attack but Waldhauser demonstrated effective back pressure on an Eagles player and stole the puck in the neutral zone to start a counter-attack into the Eagles' zone. Waldhauser skated over the Northern Colorado blue line and cut towards the middle of the ice where and released a quick shot that beat the Eagles' netminder clean on the stick side and just inside the post.
The second period wound down with Utah heading into the intermission with a 1-0 lead. The period was highlighted by tight-checking from both squads and strong goaltending by both goalies to set up a third period that would be anyone's game. Utah once again outshot the Eagles by a margin of 9-7 during the second frame.
In the final period, it was Utah capitalizing on its chances and finding the back of the net three times to take full control of the game. The Outliers extended their lead to 2-0 at the 13:44 mark off a regroup situation in the neutral zone. Utah's defenseman pairing of Matthew Koepke and Donovan Burdette set up teammate Emrik Froding for an attack at the Eagles' net. Froding took a pass from Burdette in the middle of the ice in the natural zone and then cut towards the far boards and entered Northern Colorado's end down the left side of the zone. Froding's quick acceleration helped him gain a step on the Eagle's defender as he drove to the net and released a wicked shot over the blocker side of the Eagle's netminder.
Utah's third goal of the game came just minutes later at the 13:06 mark. The Outliers gained control of the puck off an offensive zone face-off and defenseman, Magnus Einarson dragged the puck along the blue line to open up a shooting lane and then whistled a low shot past the Northern Colorado goalie who was screened on the play.
The fourth and final goal of the day was scored by Utah forward Will Cohen. With the Eagles' goaltender pulled, the Outliers gained possession of the puck in the neutral zone and created a 2-on-1 rush with an empty net staring at them. Utah's Leyton Pettypiece would skate the puck up ice and dish a pass to Cohen who deposited the puck into the empty net for a 4-0 Outliers victory.
Once again, it was another great team effort by Utah as they shut the door on the Eagles and denied them any scoring. Goaltender Nathan Dickey made some big saves in the third period and earned the shutout for the home team. The Outliers earned a sweep for the weekend to sit on top of the Mountain division with a record of 17-1-1 and ranking them among the top teams in the entire USPHL.
The Outliers will be back in action next weekend Friday, November 18th, and Sunday, November 20th as they play host to the Idaho Spud kings and the Provo Predators. Friday's game against the Spud Kings is at 7 pm and Sunday is a 12 pm start against the Predators. Both games will be played at the Acord Ice Center in West Valley. You can catch all the action streamed live on HOCKEYTV.